Author Archives: joeleachblog

The Tree of Life is a 13ft cubic timber frame structure built from curved plywood beams. These beams join together at circular timber junctions and are arranged in such a way that they form a series of interlocking circles, reminiscent of the sacred geometry of the Flower of Life. They beams are identical to one another and arranged in a repetitive fashion so the entire structure has a degree of homogeneity and symmetry to its design. The structure appears as a volume of interconnecting timber branches.

Joe Leach_Tree of Life_BM Submission5

Joe Leach_Tree of Life_BM Submission6

Up close, the structure will manifest as a dense volume of timber beams, shooting off in multiple directions like branches of a tree. In specific places, the curved plywood beams are replaced by structural timber leaf-shaped panels. These panels are coloured various shades of green using water based, environmentally friendly wood stains.  A subtle leaf-pattern is scored onto their faces and they positioned in an irregular arrangement throughout the structure. The seemingly arbitrary way the panels are positioned and orientated can be compared to the random nature of how leaves appear to fall from a tree.

Joe Leach_Tree of Life_BM SubmissionJoe Leach_Tree of Life_BM Submission3Joe Leach_Tree of Life_BM Submission4Joe Leach_Tree of Life_BM Submission2

The Burning Seed

The Burning Seed

Mother nature protects the most vulnerable, the weak, the young, the very seeds of growth. At the heart of nature is the dispersal of its seeds. Burrs which catch a lift, dandelion seeds that ride on the wind and those that are catapulted, but perhaps the most enterprising of all are the seeds that are distributed far and wide…

The Burning Seed has arrived in the desert having fallen far from its original host. Inspired by the intricate geometry of the Flower of Life, the impetus behind the design is rooted in nature. The structure’s spiky exterior belies its beauty within – a space of refuge, protection from the prevailing winds and shelter from the intensity of the sun’s rays. The design of The Burning Seed has been driven by its interactivity. In daytime, people climb between the structure’s wooden thorns and look through to its centre at those who have managed to penetrate its hostile shell. Inside they bask in the smooth, spherical interior, interacting with the harmony of the structure and one another. At night the spectacle is truly realized as a flurry of fibre optic lights protrude from the thorns, adorning the structure in a wash of blue, purple and green light.

The Burning Seed Model - Scale 1:4

The Burning Seed Model – Scale 1:4

The structure consists of 37 star shaped plywood components which interlace to form the lightweight dome. The legs of the components are bent outwards from the centre and join to create the thorns of its exterior. The structure is reciprocal, with each component supporting the neighbouring pieces, there is no requirement for a central support. This results in a homogeneous internal space with a beauty derived from its inherent highly symmetrical patterns. The components have differently sized circular holes though their centres. This creates a porous structure and a patterned light effect to be cast on the desert floor. The size of these openings reflects the geometry of the ‘Fruit of Life’ symbol, a derivative of the Flower of Life. It is said to be the blueprint of the universe, containing the basis for the design of every atom, molecular structure, life form, and everything in existence.

Construction Diagrams

Construction Diagrams


An optional flame system for The Burning Seed allows fire to intermittently burst from the tips of the copper from six spikes, illuminating the Burning Seed in orange glow. This feature can be incorporated into the design following discussion with the Burning Man Festival Organisers.

The Burning Seed

The Burning Seed